Cleft lip

Picture of examples of cleft lip

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Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when the tissues of the upper jaw and nose do not join as expected during fetal development, resulting in a split (cleft) in the lip. An incomplete cleft lip can range from a slight indentation to a notch in the upper lip on one side only. A complete cleft lip is a deep split in the lip that extends into one or both sides of the nose. This birth defect can be corrected with one or more surgeries.

Last Updated: January 21, 2010

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

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